You wrote the 5th story in The Life and Times of Chester Lewis, set from 1959 and 1965, with Chester in his late 20s and early 30s. Without giving plot spoilers, what can readers look forward to in your story?
They can look forward to a change in pace and time spent looking at Chester’s life from an unexpected angle. An angle that will help them build a deeper understanding of his character.
The Life and Times of Chester Lewis has a fan fiction competition, for stories 2000 – 4000 words, with a $2000 1st prize. What advice do you have for entrants?
My advice would be to run with the chapter that most appeals to them, that suits their style and voice.
You won The Age’s 2009 short story competition with your story Flat Daddy and also won a short story competition in 2011 with your story The Second Wife and the Cat. You have also had short stories published in a range of short story anthologies. How would you describe your journey to this point in your fiction writing?
My journey has been slow but steady. I have won a few competitions now and had over 30 stories published in anthologies and literary magazines. Writing is a long haul activity if you’re serious about getting better and you have to love the act of writing itself.
What was it like contributing to The Life and Times of Chester Lewis as an emerging fiction writer?
It’s been great fun. It’s my second involvement in a progressive novel. My first was a local collaboration between writers and artists from my area – the Albury/Wodonga Border region. There’s something quite hands off the handlebars fun about sending off your chapter and wondering where on earth the story is going to next!
Without giving plot spoilers, how would you describe the personality of Chester Lewis?
Complex, conflicted, multi-layered – all the things that get us engrossed in a novel.
What is one of your favourite fiction books you have read in the past year, and why?
Hilary Mantel’s Wolf Hall. I love it because she grabs you on the first page and immerses you deeply in her world and the life of Thomas Cromwell. You come out the other end in love with him and distraught that your time with him is over.
Who is one of your favourite fictional characters, and why?
Tarquin Winot from John Lanchester’s A Debt to Pleasure. He’s vile, evil, without conscience and utterly compelling. I love his deadpan humour and extravagance with words.
What is next for your fiction writing?
I’m halfway through the first draft of my third novel (the other two are in my bottom drawer) and writing short stories as ideas come to me.
Louise D’Arcy on Facebook: www.facebook.com/louise.darcy.775